Up to 40 eligible British Columbians will be able to tap into a unique online training program at Okanagan College and gain work experience to prepare them for jobs in the hospitality industry, thanks to more than $611,000 in funding from the provincial government.

“Tourism is incredibly vital to our region, and so we’re proud to be able to offer these timely training opportunities to help keep this sector strong, vibrant and resilient,” said Jane Lister, Okanagan College’s regional dean for the North Okanagan and acting director of continuing studies and corporate training. “We’re grateful to the ministry for its support of the project. We’re also appreciative of all the tourism industry leaders across the sector who provided feedback on just how needed this kind of training is right now and how best to tailor it to benefit workers and employers.”

The Hospitality Professional Program Project-Based Labour Market Training (PBLMT) project is recruiting eligible applicants living in and around Kelowna, Salmon Arm, Penticton, Revelstoke, Sicamous and Vernon. Anyone interested in applying to the program or finding out about eligibility requirements can contact their local WorkBC centre.

“There’s been a great deal of interest and support from local stakeholders in this project,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “Businesses are reopening and they’re looking for fully-trained employees who have a variety of skills. This training is a boost to the tourism industry and will provide much-needed jobs to people in the region.”

Theory and virtual classroom training provided by Okanagan College will include computer software, marketing and sales, soft skills, industry certifications, human resources and management, project management and accounting, as well as 10 weeks of work experience. Through this enhanced industry skills training, participants will be prepared to work in a variety of positions in the tourism sector, enabling them to grow their careers in the industry while supporting a more skilled and resilient tourism workforce.

Over two intakes, there are spaces for 40 participants in the 46-week project, which will run through till July 2021.

Priority for the program will be given to persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, immigrants, victims of violence, multi-barriered persons and youth.